Monday, March 12, 2012

To Serve or be Served

It is increasingly apparent that “service to one’s country” does not have the meaning that the line seems to convey.

Take the pre-Revolutionary times and through the Revolutionary War. The founders sacrificed as did most colonials of the time. The signers of the Declaration of Independence did so knowing the risk they were undertaking. Not just their financial well being, but their very lives. They were, after all, traitors to the crown in creating a new nation. Some lost their homes, their property and some even their families in getting this country established as its’ own nation.

Our soldiers have sacrificed in every war we’ve engaged in fighting for freedom in every war. They have given lives and limbs for their country. Their families have sacrificed as well watching as their loved ones go off to war leaving behind wives, husbands, children, parents, and sometimes, not coming back or coming back hurt.

Our present day politicians are praised (mainly by each other) as having “served” when they leave and while they are still in office they are described as having chosen to “serve”. But have they chosen to serve the country and the people they represent or have they chosen to be served at the expense of the American people and those they represent in their particular districts, or states?

Take the case of Arlen Specter, former Senator from Pennsylvania. He has a new book coming out called “Life Among the Cannibals”. I read about this in “The Hill”. The article only focuses on his last two years with all of the tumult surrounding him. If there is more to the book, it’s not mentioned in the article. However, what is written about shows a very self serving man in Arlen Specter.

Specter voted for the stimulus package in 2009 that was signed by Obama the day after Presidents Day, just one month following his inauguration. Specter crossed party lines along with Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both Republicans from Maine.

By joining the Democrats in passing the stimulus package, along with Snowe and Collins, Specter made himself less than welcome by the Republican Constituency in Pennyslvania as they gave their indications in polls that they were going to vote for Pat Toomey. Apparently, that vote didn’t help his standing in the Republican Party with the other members of his party.

We of course, remember the town hall meetings that followed where people questioned Specter and wanted truthful answers and were not accepting of answers that he gave that were misleading.

Specter then added insult to injury by voting for the takeover of the health care system with ObamaCare. His Republican days were all but officially over after that and in April he made it official by changing to the Democrat Party.

Before announcing to the American people that he had changed parties, he worked out his deal with the Democrats and gave he Republican colleagues the heads up that he’d decided to make this change.

Specter says that Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, promised he’d keep his seniority even as a Democrat and become Chairman of Labor, Health and Human Services subcommittee, and be the next Chair of the Judiciary committee. Instead, Reid had Specters seniority stripped by slipping through a resolution by unanimous consent in a near empty Senate.

Everything in the article on the book was about Specter being promised certain things to make the switch and those promises not being fulfilled. Senator Harken of Iowa refused to allow Specter to move ahead of him in one committee. Senators Kohl of Wisconsin, Fienstein of California and former Senator Feingold of Wisconsin refused to step aside so that Specter could move ahead of them.

Specter is also upset that President Obama didn’t follow through on his promise to help Specter get elected as a Democrat, by campaigning for him in the Democrat primary against Representative Joe Sestak, saying that Obama flew past Philadelphia without stopping on his way to New York and past Pittsburg on his way to Youngstown, Ohio and for Biden to be just a few blocks away from another rally. He claims that Obama had been associated with former New Jersey Governor who lost his election, and Martha Oakley the Attorney General of Massachusetts in their losses and didn’t want the trifecta of campaigning with Specter.

The point of all of this is not that Specter voted for the stimulus or the Health care takeover because he thought it was good for the country. He did it for personal gain. Everything in the story is about the committee chairs for him. The seniority for him. The campaigning for him. Not once did he talk about what advantage he brings to the country for the country.

This can only make me wonder if he voted for the stimulus to get a better deal from Obama and to vote for the health care to get something from the White House.

He was losing against Pat Toomey as a Republican in the primary. He switched to the Democrat party and was losing, and eventually lost, in the Democrat Primary to Joe Sestak, and he doesn’t blame his actions. He blames Reid, Obama, Biden, Kohl, Feinstein, Feingold.

Even when talking about Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, he says that McConnell was worried about how a Specter switch in parties would look to others about McConnell. However, he does say that former leader Bob Dole said that had he been in Specters position, he too would switch parties.

Specter has only himself to blame. His concern was about him, not his constituents. Not the American people. He depended on Obama, Biden and Reid to take care of him. He should now know what most of the rest of us already know. Government cannot take care of the people. Only the people can take care of themselves. Unfortunately, according to the story in “The Hill” Specter has still not learned this.

Our politicians should really look at Arlen Specter and learn how not to be a representative of the people. They should really look at our fighting men and women and emulate them instead. They do serve the country. Politicians expect the country to serve them. Good luck in retirement Mr. Specter.

You’re welcome to comment.